Og MandinoImagine putting on an event featuring the acclaimed Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and the beloved author, Og Mandino – together for an evening of inspiration. That is what I did following my very first event featuring Dr. Wayne Dyer.

The date was May 31, 1991 and it happened to be Dr. Peale’s 93rd birthday. How could I NOT throw Dr. Peale a birthday party… with 2,500 people attending?!  I had a giant cake made with 93 candles, a children’s choir to lead the audience in singing “Happy Birthday,” and a large original caricature drawing of Dr. Peale created that said, “Have a Positively Happy, Happy 93rd Birthday, Norm!” – with the signatures of audience members on the back.  And each person in the audience received a condensed version of “The Power of Positive Thinking” as a gift from me.

Og Mandino was so taken by this wonderful event that he and I became fast friends. Before I knew it, he was calling me every now and then to check in on this single mother trying to figure out what to do with her life. Over the next several years, before he passed, I had the wonderful fortune to spend quality time with Og and looked up to him like a father figure. I have some wonderful Og stories and greatly treasured our friendship.  And I know he was incredibly fond of me. He saw promise in me before I could see it for myself.

Soon after Og and I first met, the local hospital, the local bank, a broadcasting company and another business all connected with me to ask for my help in booking a speaker for their various events.  Having read a lot of books and listened to many motivational tape programs to get me through the rough patches of my life, I had unwittingly prepared myself by knowing of dozens of speakers and authors. With each of those four local organizations I helped them get a great speaker.

One day, Og called me and said, “How’s it going today, sweetie?

I answered by saying, “I just helped the local hospital book a speaker for their annual dinner!”

Og:  “Wonderful! What was your commission?”

Nancy:  “I don’t understand.”

Og: “What did you get paid to book the speaker for the hospital?”

Nancy:  “I don’t know what you mean…”

Og (laughing heartily):  “Oh Nancy…I think you should start a speakers bureau. You’d be brilliant at it, and you can actually get paid to connect speakers with clients.”

And that is how I happened to start a speakers bureau…

When you love what you do so much that you’ll do it without compensation, that’s a sign you’re heading in the right direction. All it took was a little nudge from the late, great Og Mandino to send me on my way.